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Thread: Free speech:not in our constitution

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    Politics.ie Member cyberianpan's Avatar
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    Default Free speech:not in our constitution

    Bunreacht
    Personal Rights

    Article 40

    6. 1 The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:

    i. The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.

    The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.

    The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.
    So free speech except for anything that undermines:
    public order : possibly reasonable but wide interprative leeway
    morality: bit fuzzy ?
    authority of the State: possibly reasonable but wide interprative leeway

    seditious: possibly reasonable but wide interprative leeway
    blasphemous: huh
    indecent matter

    Of course people will say that "sure look at all the dirty mags & Monty Python is allowed now" and yes I think it highly unlikely that Ireland will slide into a tyranny but fact is that our "free speech" is far from guaranteed. How can we explain to any African country what proper statehood is with these relics in Bunreacht ?

    Compare to the US:
    Bill of Rights

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
    cYp
    "Yawn , am I alive yet ?"

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    Yes its a disgrace. I personally beleive in total freedom of Speech as a liberal. This is one of the push factors which is driving me out of the PDs, espcially when we didn't make a song and dance out of the crazy German propasals to ban freedom of speech with there lazy holocaust excuses. Guilt must be getting to them.
    Liquidate labour, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.

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    The "public order" and "authority of the State" bits are especially dodgy. Technically, they could make it illegal to criticise the Government or any member thereof, and it wouldn't be unconstitutional!

    There's a few bits of the old document need a bit of an overhaul, and this is definitely on the list. Freedom of speech for all!
    Je suis un loo-lah

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    Freedom of speech should not be enshrined in any constitution - it should be a given, like breathing the air we breathe. Difficulties that arise from the promotion of such issues (examples only) as 'justifiable' paedophilia or Holocaust denial can then be dealt with appropriately and without the shackles of constitutions. Civil liberties groups have us fooked. Common decency should prevail.
    Racism = fear, low self-esteem and breath-taking ignorance.

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    Pitt the younger said that any restriction on free speech would herald the beginnning of the end of the British Constitution. He felt it would be the equivalent of when Caesar became emperor and replaced the senate.

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    Politics.ie Member corelli's Avatar
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    I think sight is being lost of the fact that it is our Supreme Court which is the arbiter of what the 1937 Constitution actually says and the Supreme Court have been, since the O'Dalaigh court in the 1960's, quite liberal in the interpretation of it's provisions. The most quoted phrase is that it is a "living document" that develops over time given the social/political norms prevelent at the present time. I am not sure I understand what Kev408 is getting at when he suggests that no such fundimental right provisions should be in any constitution and his following assertion that any difficulty in relation to the promotion of such matters as paedophilia could be then "dealt with appropriately". Are you suggesting that we leave decisions on fundimental rights to the Legislature without any recourse to basic constitutional principles?
    "......... we must sometimes listen to those who, consumed with zeal, have scant judgment or balance. To such ones the modern world is nothing but betrayal and ruin.........We feel bound to disagree with these prophets of doom who are forever forecasting calamity -- as though the world's end were imminent."

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    Politics.ie Member cyberianpan's Avatar
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    So trust the Supreme Court:
    Quote Originally Posted by corelli
    I think sight is being lost of the fact that it is our Supreme Court which is the arbiter of what the 1937 Constitution actually says and the Supreme Court have been, since the O'Dalaigh court in the 1960's, quite liberal in the interpretation of it's provisions. The most quoted phrase is that it is a "living document" that develops over time given the social/political norms prevelent at the present time.
    but not the Legislature:
    Quote Originally Posted by corelli
    I am not sure I understand what Kev408 is getting at when he suggests that no such fundimental right provisions should be in any constitution and his following assertion that any difficulty in relation to the promotion of such matters as paedophilia could be then "dealt with appropriately". Are you suggesting that we leave decisions on fundimental rights to the Legislature without any recourse to basic constitutional principles?


    cYp
    "Yawn , am I alive yet ?"

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    Politics.ie Member farnaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free speech:not in our constitution

    Quote Originally Posted by cyberianpan
    Bunreacht
    Personal Rights

    Article 40

    6. 1 The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:

    i. The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.

    The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.

    The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.
    Not too bothered by this to be honest. It guarantees citizens the right to free speech while warning "organs of public opinion" to be careful what they say. The invasion of english tabloid papers into the irish market makes me wish someone would actually enforce this clause. Worry about artistic and political expression being undermined by such a clause is made irrelevant by distribution of news, movies, radio etc. through the internet anyway.
    I stand with two thousand years of darkness and bafflement and hunger behind me... and I couldn't give a ha'penny jizz for your internet-assembled philosophy. Evil Vicar

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    Quote Originally Posted by corelli
    I think sight is being lost of the fact that it is our Supreme Court which is the arbiter of what the 1937 Constitution actually says and the Supreme Court have been, since the O'Dalaigh court in the 1960's, quite liberal in the interpretation of it's provisions. The most quoted phrase is that it is a "living document" that develops over time given the social/political norms prevelent at the present time. I am not sure I understand what Kev408 is getting at when he suggests that no such fundimental right provisions should be in any constitution and his following assertion that any difficulty in relation to the promotion of such matters as paedophilia could be then "dealt with appropriately". Are you suggesting that we leave decisions on fundimental rights to the Legislature without any recourse to basic constitutional principles?
    Well, yes, I am. Why does it not state in our constitution that we can eat, quench our thirst or copulate? That they do not exist in our constitutions does not mean we cannot indulge in them. Freedom of speech is as righteous as sex or eating or breathing. When it becomes constitutionalised it protects sickos like NAMBLA who spout forth their belief, acceptance and encouragement of paedophilia. This leads to unnecessary court cases, publicises the causes of such groups, adds an element of seriousness to them and diminishes common decency. Freedom of speech, like the right to bare arms, was introduced into the US constitution because they were not allowed under British rule. We need to move away from that and return to acceptable levels of decency.

    Then we can deal with inappropriate abuses of freedom of speech as and when they arrive.
    Racism = fear, low self-esteem and breath-taking ignorance.

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    Politics.ie Member corelli's Avatar
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    I am sugesting that it would not be appropriate to trust the legislature in fundimental matters. Simply because they are politicians and are vunerable to public opinion, which, I would submit, would be quite a dangerous position to find ourselves in. As for eating and drinking, they are protected under the fundimental provisions in our Constitution in that they are required to live and we have a fundimental right to life in our constitution. Copulation is also covered in the constitution in various ways, the most important one being ones right to Privacy, which was the most argued in the Norris case and which he subsequently won in the European Court of Human Rights. I think if you don't take the Constitution in a very literal sense, which it should not be, and take it that that the provisions in it are basic principles, not exhaustive, you might become more comfortable with it.

    As for cyp, yes, it is not so much a question of trust, merely that it is the basis of most, if not all, functional democracies in the world, the three tier Government, legislature, executive and judiciary and, of course, a strict seperation of all three. Seems to work.
    "......... we must sometimes listen to those who, consumed with zeal, have scant judgment or balance. To such ones the modern world is nothing but betrayal and ruin.........We feel bound to disagree with these prophets of doom who are forever forecasting calamity -- as though the world's end were imminent."

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